NNA - Prime Minister Saad Hariri visited today the embassy of the kingdom of Saudi Arabia in Beirut, and offered his congratulations on the appointment of Prince Mohammed bin Salman bin Abdul Aziz as Crown Prince, Hariri's press office indicated on Monday.
Hariri was received by Acting Charge d'Affaires Walid Al-Bukhari and the embassy staff. He wrote in the guestbook: "May God bless Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman and help him confront all the challenges. In Lebanon we always had a brotherly and historic relationship with the Kingdom that we hope will always continue."
Separately, Hariri received at the Grand Serail the Minister of the Displaced Talal Arslan, in the presence of a delegation from the Central Fund for the Displaced. The meeting focused on taking the necessary steps to develop the regions that witnessed a displacement in order to reinforce the return of the inhabitants to their villages.
After the meeting, Arslan said: "This meeting is a very advanced step in the sensitive file of the displaced, which is directly related to coexistence and unity between Lebanese in general and in the mountain in particular. First, I would like to thank Prime Minister Hariri for his personal interest and I consider that, of all political stages that I witnessed since 1990, he is the first prime minister who looks into the details of this file. He took the great initiative of forming a joint committee comprising the Ministry of the Displaced, the Displaced Fund and advisors, headed by Fadi Fawaz whom I thank for his technical and practical approach to solving such a thorny issue. I also thank the President of the Displaced Fund Nicolas Habr and the Director General of the Ministry, Ahmad Al Mahmoud for their hard work. We reached a draft law that differs from the previous laws that dealt only with the issue of securing funds. A part of this draft is funding and another part relates to new regulations that are laid down in clear and explicit legal texts."
He added: "The file of the displaced is not an easy file; it includes the reconciliation demands from each village and city, and demands for restoration, reconstruction and infrastructure. The most important thing is that there is a new approach to close this file. The draft will be studied by the president and the Prime minister before presenting it to the cabinet and then to Parliament."
Hariri also met with a delegation of the Economic Committees, headed by former minister Adnan Kassar and discussed the economic and financial situation in the country.
The delegation presented the following text to PM Hariri:
"The Economic Committees, headed by former Minister Adnan Kassar, held an extraordinary meeting at the headquarters of the Chamber of Commerce, Industry and Agriculture in Beirut and Mount Lebanon. As a result of the deliberations and consultations, the following statement was issued:
First: the Economic Committees emphasize the importance of legislative work and the return of life to constitutional institutions. They also congratulate the government on the adoption of a new budget, after none was voted since 2005.
Second: the Economic Committees believe that the priority today should be to stimulate the economy and not to increase taxes on an economy in crisis. Also a new budget should be voted, that is transparent and balanced, and where expenditures are not greater than revenues, with a real reform process to combat corruption that has penetrated frighteningly in all departments and institutions. The first steps of reform should be to combat tax evasion and to activate the collection of unpaid bills and fees, which would protect the national economy.
Third: The Committees consider that the government should launch an economic plan, and strengthen the incentives that will activate the economy and raise growth rates. This is the right way to revitalize the national economy, stop institutions from closing, and create new job opportunities for Lebanese.
Fourth: The Economic Committees believe that the proposed tax increases shouldn't be approved, because they will have negative repercussions on the Lebanese economic situation as a whole, because they will increase the pressure on institutions that suffer from difficult conditions and will affect a large part of the working class, which might create a crisis difficult to overcome."
Later on, Hariri received a delegation from the army command, headed by Brigadier General Rifaat Ramadan and coprising Brigadier General Fatek Al Saadi and Colonel Elie Najm Mezher, who invited Prime Minister Hariri to attend the 72nd Army Day on August 1st in the Military College.
On a different note, Hariri headed a meeting attended by Finance Minister Ali Hassan Khalil, Minister of Communications Jamal Al-Jarrah, Chairman of Finance parliamentary Committee Ibrahim Kanaan and MPs George Adwan, Ali Fayyad and Akram Chehayeb.
The meeting, which aims to prepare for tomorrow's parliamentary session, focused on the salaries scale, expenditures and revenues.
Hariri earlier met with MP Bahia Hariri and received a delegation from the Lebanese Golf Club headed by Riad Makkawi. He also received Eric Favre who asked him to sponsor the Beirutfight Games to be held in the Lebanese capital next year.